Learning a language never fails to amaze me, to impress me and to charm me. I’m busy watching my mind improving at Thai. I’ve reached that curious stage children reach very quickly wherein when I listen to Thai spoken at normal speed, I can now hear all the individual words somehow without being able to decipher them fast enough to know what is being said.
It’s an improvement – because until fairly recently it just sounded like a blur of sound, one giant word if you like.
My brain is up to something. And given that we are wired to learn languages, it is probably something good. A stage I must pass through.
What was it Hannibal from the “A” team used to say? “I love it when a plan comes together”. In my case I love it too but it doesn’t have to be my plan. And who am I not to marvel at the genius of the human mind. That you and I can take a splat of mixed up frequencies (including the song I am playing in the background), decipher which is relevant, remove the other frequencies, convert frequencies into data, crunch the data, find the words, look them up in your internal dictionary, keep the languages largely separated, turn chunks of language into meaning and represent that meaning internally as pictures, videos, words, feelings and thoughts makes me feel as humble as a politician claims to be.
I was once watching a documentary on jaguars in South America. I was watching this incredibly powerful animal, supple, fast, strong, keen eyesight, tremendous hearing, reflexes any table tennis player (guilty) would die for and I wondered – is he grateful? Does he know how amazing he is? And how he has been gifted with millions of years of refinement to reach this point?
Do you? Do you ever just stop and marvel at your mind. How smart it is? How capable? Be astonished and watch your language learning with fascination and awe.
One of the cornerstones of our language learning system is that we are fascinated by the mind. It is not our job to MAKE it learn. It is to understand it. The nature of it. And feed it the mental food it wants in the way it wants then relax, sit back and watch the show.